8 Epic Things to do in Estes Park

These eight things to do in Estes Park are sure to keep you busy and your experiences full!

1. Take a ride on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway

We won’t lie, we’re a sucker for tourist traps. Sometimes they are that way for a reason right? Although the tram ride itself is underwhelming the views from the top are breathtaking which makes it one of the top things to do in Estes Park.
Travel Tip: There are fewer crowds in the early morning or late afternoon. We went right at 9 am when it opened and there was still a line. However when we left the line was 5x as long!
Address: 420 E Riverside Dr, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-6pm
$12/pp round trip

things to do in Estes Park

Feast your eyes on your own panorama of Estes Park!

things to do in Estes Park

Climbing to new heights at Prospect Mountain

2. Take a kayak out and relax on Lake Estes

Driving by Lake Estes you’ll laugh like we did because the lake itself might be the smallest one we’ve ever seen! However, this actually made the experience so much better because there aren’t any big boats disrupting the waters. We were able to get to the far side of the lake within 45 minutes and really enjoyed the mountain views.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm
Cost: $20/hr

things to do in Estes Park

Going with the flow on Lake Estes

things to do in Estes Park

Alright, but this mountain view though…

3. Visit the Stanley Hotel… if you dare

This haunted hotel is best known for its inspirational role in Stephen King’s novel, turned film, The Shining. It has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and continues to still operate since it’s doors opened in 1909. You can’t help but hear Jack Nicholson eerily saying “heeeeeerrrrreeee’s Johnny!” when walking up to the Stanley. Visit just to see or stay the night if you’re really brave! If you’re a fan then you might also like these fun facts.
Travel Tip: You can visit the hotel itself for free but the Stanley also offers special tours.
Hours: Multiple tour times starting at 10 am most days
Cost: $20-25/adult $17/children (save $5 with AAA)

things to do in Estes Park

So ominous whenever there is a storm brewing!

4. Rent a Jeep and go trailing

If you’re into exploring new places, thrilling adventures, and getting off the grid for awhile, a Backbone Adventures’ Jeep Rental is for you. We had a blast taking out a two-door Jeep Wrangler and exploring some of the off-roading trails near Estes Park. Our favorite being Storm Mountain, but overall, we strongly believe that this is one of the top things to do in Estes Park.
Travel Tip: Backbone Adventures also offers ATV, Harley Davidson Motorcycle, Dirt Bike, UTV, RAZOR, and Snowmobile rentals.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm (also the length of time you are able to use your Jeep)
Cost: $200

things to do in Estes Park

Trailing to the top of Storm Mountain

things to do in Estes Park

Where the mountains and the cool, crisp air make you feel alive

5. Grab some grub at The Wapiti Pub

The Wapiti Pub prides themselves on how they “embody everything that is Colorado” and boy do they ring true to that tagline. Not only do they have terrific dining options that support local, they also have an AMAZING Colorado craft beers and a nice sunny patio to relax on after a full day of hiking.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 11am-9pm Menu

things to do in Estes Park

6. Enjoy a sweet treat at Purple Mountain Taffy Company

Grab an ice cream and then get a few different taffy flavors to go! We liked the huckleberry, salted caramel, lemon, banana, Mexican chocolate, and triple berry the best.
121 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
$12.99/lb (about 60 taffy pieces or you can always get less)

things to do in Estes Park

So many flavors!

7. Leisurely stroll and shop at Downtown Estes Park

Support local by shopping at some of the coolest shops you’ll find while in Colorado. There is a lengthy list of 300 places to buy handcrafted goods, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, outdoor gear, and many restaurants/pubs.
Travel Tip: Parking can definitely be tricky! We had the most luck close to the Estes Park post office.
Address: 356 E. Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park (general location)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm (most stores)

things to do in Estes Park

You can even see a movie at this historic theater!

8. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

Obviously, we saved the best for last! No trip to Estes Park is complete without visiting nearby RMNP. With so much beauty around, you’re sure to want to spend a few days here. Be sure to find your way to Trail Ridge Road as well! How many jaw-dropping national parks have you been to?
Address: 1000 US Hwy 36, Estes Park
24hrs/365 days a year
Cost: $20/vehicle day pass or $30/vehicle 7-day pass

things to do in Estes Park

Dream Lake, you were stunning

things to do in Estes Park

Views en route to Emerald Lake

Spend a weekend in Estes Park or a few weeks – there is something for everyone!
Which of these things to do in Estes Park would make the top of your list?

These 8 epic things to do in Estes Park, Colorado are sure to make your list. Explore and see all that Estes Park has to offer!

  • Sophia
    September 18, 2016 at 9:34 PM

    Looks like an amazing place! Would really like to travel here someday. I especially would like to see the Rocky Mountains and try a Colorado beer.

    • kallsypage
      September 26, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      You must go sometime! The views are epic and the beers are amazing too. 🙂

  • Rhonda Albom
    September 19, 2016 at 4:08 AM

    Looks like a beautiful place. I love the Rocky mountains. It is the Kayaking and jeep photos that really sold me on adding it to my list for next time we are in Colorado.

    • kallsypage
      September 19, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      Even photos cannot completely display the beauty here! You must go to RMNP next time. 🙂

  • Milosz Zak
    September 23, 2016 at 9:24 PM

    Wonderful adventure. I worked for Parks Canada, and we often got to see vistas like this. The North American continent has some amazing variation in landscapes. I do think some of the rentals offered are a little pricey though – on both sides of the border.

    • kallsypage
      September 23, 2016 at 10:31 PM

      Milosz, we would love to explore more of Canada. I agree on that aspect too. Some rental companies can definitely be overpriced!

  • jbr41452
    September 23, 2016 at 11:21 PM

    I love Colorado and even though of moving there from Las Vegas before we decided on a life as digital nomads instead. I don’t think there is any place more beautiful than Estes Park in the U.S. I have traveled all over and the air is clear and crips and always has such great natural fragrances. Now I am making myself homesick again.

    • kallsypage
      September 24, 2016 at 12:01 AM

      We love it too! There is just something about the calm water, crisp mountain air, and you’re so spot on about the fragrances of the wildflowers, waterfalls, and just all around nature! We hope to end up here someday to live for a little while. 🙂

  • ckaway
    September 24, 2016 at 6:36 PM

    Very cool location. I was thinking, “where the heck is Estes Park?” as I was reading the entire post. It wasn’t until nearly the end through that you mentioned it was in Colorado. Oh, that’s neat. Now I know in what part of the world it is. Then I went back and read the full post because I was now interested. Thanks for the great information 🙂

    • kallsypage
      September 25, 2016 at 5:02 PM

      Ckaway, thanks for pointing that out. It’s in our menu and pin photo but I realized we failed to mention it at the beginning. I’m glad you were able to find some ideas from us! Hope you’re able to visit there someday soon! 🙂

  • Milana
    September 25, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    What a fun adventure! Renting a jeep is something I would do. We rented one in Aruba, and had a blast off-roading.

    • kallsypage
      September 25, 2016 at 4:53 PM

      We loved it too! We almost wished we had rented one for a few days while we were there. Off-roading is so much fun!

  • Teresa Gilbert
    September 25, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    I totally just want to jump in these photos with you! Looks like a major blast!

    • kallsypage
      September 25, 2016 at 7:57 PM

      Teresa, thanks so much! We did have a fabulous time. You’ll definitely have to visit sometime. 🙂

  • Suzannah
    September 26, 2016 at 3:38 AM

    This place looks awesome! I’d love to get stuck into some adventure with killer views like that! The hotel being inspo for The Shining is a bonus – I’d love to see it!

    Plus, your outfits were awesome!

    • kallsypage
      September 26, 2016 at 6:27 PM

      Thanks so much Suzannah! We really enjoyed visiting here and wished we could have spent a whole week exploring the Rocky Mountains. 🙂 Hope you are able to go at some point!

  • Shayne Zalameda
    September 26, 2016 at 4:33 AM

    This looks exciting! I bet you two had a lot of fun! I wanna jump to those destinations right away!

    • kallsypage
      September 26, 2016 at 6:27 PM

      Thanks Shayne! We really did. 🙂 You should go visit sometime!

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  • fulltimecanada
    December 18, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    Looks like you had an incredible time. All the adventure stuff sounds great but the hotel has me really intrigued based on the whole Shining story.

  • vishalgmr1971
    December 18, 2016 at 1:07 AM

    RMNP is just like Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. Loved the place and photos.

  • Ticker Eats The World
    December 18, 2016 at 3:40 AM

    So great and that Shinning Hotel I would so stay in that simply because I’m a huge cinephile and love that film. Estes Park looks really wonderful with so much to do both for the everyday tourist as well as the adventure tourist. Love the idea of the tramway and having a jeep to drive around. The Cinema looks so retro.

  • Indrani
    December 18, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    What an amazing place! I love the activities.
    Most of all I like how you composed the pics. Makes me want to follow you!

  • Drew
    December 18, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    I feel like Estes Park is one of those places that keeps coming up recently. In the past few weeks, several people have mentioned it to me as a place not to miss during my next visit to Colorado. I personally want to see the hotel from the Shining, but my wife would probably have a heart attack in the car on the way there. I can’t wait to visit sometime soon!

  • Sara Broers (@TravelWithSara)
    December 18, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    Ahhh… my favorite national park. Did you have an elk burger at the Wapiti Pub? Dream Lake is the most photographed lake in the park, so it made sense you were there. If you return, be sure to hike to Odessa Lake~ my favorite! Great capture of a beautiful place to visit.

  • mappingmegan
    December 19, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    Sounds like the perfect place for outdoor adventure enthusiasts like ourselves! Rocky Mountain National Park has been on my list for a while now though I hadn’t heard of Estes Park – looks just as stunning though! Thanks for the introduction 🙂

  • Hot Foot Trini
    December 19, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    The kayaking sounds great. Would love to go someday!

  • Karla
    December 20, 2016 at 12:18 AM

    I love Colorado, this was my target this year but something came up. I am so sad I wasnt able to go but more reason to go back. It is absolutely gorgeous.

  • Carmen's Luxury Trvl (@carmensluxtrvl)
    December 20, 2016 at 12:28 AM

    The tramway would be first on my list! I love epic views. Beautiful post, thanks for sharing. Happy travels 🙂

  • Pedro @travelwithpedro
    December 20, 2016 at 9:31 AM

    What a beautiful place! I wonder why Dream Lake got that name! 🙂

    • kallsypage
      December 28, 2016 at 8:33 PM

      Thank you Pedro!I guess because it’s such a dream to look at! 😉

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  • Jennifer McCallum
    April 16, 2017 at 5:39 PM

    Great recap, Estes Park is one of our favorite places….so much so that we had our destination wedding there. But we’ve never done the aerial tramway before so that has been added to our list, thank you!

    I would also highly recommend starting the day out with donuts from the Donut Haus. But go early because they WILL sell out!

  • Janet
    July 1, 2017 at 9:40 PM

    I lived in Estes from June 1976-September 1989. Worked for Rocky Mountain National Park,on trail maintenance .(got paid to hike every day!) Owned a restaurant on Moraine Ave., then called The Surrey. Going back this month for a short visit. Cant wait, the mountains are calling!! My heart is still there, and feel the pull!